Outlander Season 2, Episode 11 Recap: Heads Will Roll

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) try to lobby for an advance on London.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from tonight's episode of Outlander. Read at your own risk. If you're the squeamish sort, you're no doubt hugging it out with a toilet right now — and we don't blame you. Teeth, eyeballs, heads...there were few body parts that didn't get yanked out during this gory episode. It's not like we weren't warned, though. If, like me, you see the opening credits an opportunity to grab a drink, pee, or just generally ward off a Scottish warbling earworm, then you might have missed out on the foreshadowing that occurred. We see a servant misting and fluffing a gentleman's wig, which then get knocks onto the floor. Hmm. But let's not get ahead (sorry) of ourselves. There was still a lot of war business to attend to. Claire's narration informs us that the Jacobite army has been moving south and even occupied Manchester, but has been slow to gather support. She's playing dentist — eat your heart out, Olivier — while Jamie, Prince Charles, and the generals decide whether or not to advance on London. The generals say it's a lost cause and they should turn back; the prince wants to go for it; and Jamie, who's just trying to shake things up in the hopes of changing history, is the only one who will hear him out. Things do not work out. Not only do the generals decide to retreat, but they've given Jamie and Dougal marching orders to set up quarters in Inverness. Jamie's influence over the prince is screwing with their own plans, so they're trying to put a little distance between the kilted one and his favorite royal. Left high and dry by the rest of the Jacobites, Team Jamie has no choice but to head north. They're having a wee rest when they're fired upon by Redcoats. A few Scotsmen and Claire's medical bag are taken out, but the principal players manage to ride off. Unfortunately, Rupert picks a bad time to look behind him and he's shot in the right eye. "I suppose one eye is better than nain," he consoles himself after Claire extracts the poor peeper using Fergus' knife and some whiskey. All of that happens in a stone church where the gang, along with Ross, have managed to seek refuge. Just when you're thinking that the day's bad luck has peaked with an emergency eye amputation, Redcoats emerge from the churchyard, carrying lit torches. They're not looking for Frankenstein, folks. They threaten to torch the thatched roof if the Scots don't come out. Let's not forget that Jamie is a wanted man. Claire has an idea. She poses as a British hostage, letting Dougal negotiate her release in exchange for their safety. The plan is to meet later. When Claire notices Jamie's old mute pal, Munro, outside the garrison, she makes sure he knows that she's being taken to Belmont.
Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) is taken to Belmont.
And what is this Belmont joint? It happens to be the residence of one Duke of Sandringham, played the deliciously scenery-chewing Simon Callow. The duke and Claire pretend to not recognize one another, which is mutually beneficial. It seems he's fallen out of favor for having suspected Jacobite leanings and is basically under house arrest with Redcoats surrounding his home. He convinces Claire to strike a deal: He'll help her get a message out to Jamie, provided he, too, is rescued. Claire agrees and jots off a message off in Gaelic so it won't be intercepted. The revelations keep coming. Mary is also staying in the house, because it turns out the she's the duke's secret goddaughter. Funny how that never came up when she was seemingly being raped during that dinner party. Poor Mary's been saddled with yet another rotten engagement, this time to a loyalist who's willing to take on her "soiled goods" in exchange for close relations with the duke. Mary's so caught up in her latest love drama that she somehow hasn't noticed that her godfather's servant, Danton, is obviously the man who raped her in Paris. Claire notices his tell-tale birthmark and the duke comes clean. He owned money to St. Germain and tried to clear his debts by planning the attack on Claire and Mary. Though the comte wanted Claire dead, the duke lobbied to have her raped, instead. "You should really be very grateful to me," he sniffs. He's pulled another fast one. He's told the Redcoats that "Red Jamie" is en route, allowing him to prove his loyalty to the crown. He orders Claire, whom he says can be hanged next to her husband, banished to her room. Dun dun dun. Meanwhile, the Duke's messenger has reached Munro and he's reached Jamie and Murtagh. The two men are able to translate Claire's gibberish and set out for Belmont. (Side note: Didn't Munro have a whole day to tell them about Belmont? It all felt like, "Oh, NOW you want me to tell Jamie. I thought that whole thing this morning was idle chit-chat.") Thanks to Mary's persistent need to have some girl talk, Claire's able to escape and hatch a plan to warn Jamie. She heads to the kitchen, but is thwarted by the presence of a wig-less duke having a midnight snack and wielding a sharp knife. Mary notes this and takes it upon herself to alert Munro, who has been helping Jamie sneak past the Redcoats. Danton spies her and drags her into the kitchen, where Claire and the Duke are still eating. At last, Jamie bursts into the room, followed by Murtagh. Danton holds a knife to Claire's throat, but is ultimately knocked out cold and exposed as Mary's rapist. A stammering duke, who has managed to put his wig back on, tries to explain, but Jamie's not buying it. That's when things get a little Tarantino. Mary grabs the unattended knife and fatally stabs her rapist. Then, Murtagh takes his axe and with a sickening crunch and a stomach-churning slurp, chops off the Duke's head. Said head is presented to Mary and Claire with a genteel kneel. "I kept my word," he tells them. "I lay my vengeance at your feet." Is it possible to be emotionally touched while getting that I'm-gonna-barf watery feeling in your mouth? Because, THAT.

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